The King Holiday Hoopfest just ended with an 83-76 Garfield victory against Federal Way, which followed an O’Dea win against Lynden. Tournament organizers seemed to think the day was a success, and with more than 6,000 fans coming through the doors at the HecEd throughout the day, it seems like it was. Many of the games didn’t disappoint.
My thoughts on the day:
KingCo’s the big winner. KingCo 4A schools went 3-0, with Franklin’s stunner — and let there be no doubt, that was a huge upset — Garfield’s tough win and Bothell’s last-minute victory against Gig Harbor. That simply reinforces how tough and deep this conference has been this season, particularly Bothell’s gritty victory against a team that was in the preseason top 10. Garfield also looked great with the best performance I’ve seen from its role players, such as Wilson Platt and Jaron Cox. There’s a lot more on that team that Tony Wroten and De’Andre Taylor, as good as those two are, and the Bulldogs showed that tonight. Wroten had one of the best blocks I’ve seen all season (right behind two by Peyton Siva).
So let’s talk about Franklin’s win. You hear a lot about how big a guy is, and then when you see him in person, you’re underwhelmed. Well, that’s not the case with Renardo Sidney. He’s somehow even bigger than the talk about him. And with how much I’ve heard about the way Ferris’ bigs beat Franklin last March, it didn’t look like it would be a good day for the Quakes.
Then Franklin took a big first-quarter lead and extended it to 16 going into halftime. Fairfax came back and eventually took the lead, but Franklin came right back, driving to the hoop for fouls (which Fairfax coach Harvey Kitani questioned) that became the free-throws that kept the Quakers in it. Then Sterling Carter’s last-second putback off the glass put it away.
If there’s anything to take out of the entire day, I think it’s this: Franklin can play with bigger teams. They’ve done so against Rainier Beach, and now they’ve won against the highest-ranked big man in the country.
“We’re going to be ready for state,” said Sterling Carter, whose first name modifies his last-second putback today. “People underestimate us because we’re small, but we say height is just a number.”
I’m still buying Kentwood as an elite team. Take away that loss to Federal Way that got away from the Conks in the first quarter, and Kentwood has one of the best resumes in the state. It got even better today with an impressive win against Bellarmine Prep. To date, Kentwood has beaten Bellarmine, Lakes, Federal Way, Prairie and Kentridge. The Conks have lost by three at Renton, and by five at Decatur. No team (other than Franklin, maybe) has played a tougher in-state schedule, and perhaps that’s a reason why Kentwood looked so good Monday.
Based on Monday’s games, someone might have thought Josh Smith was the nationally hyped big man, not Sidney. Smith, who scored 29 against Bellarmine, probably should be in that conversation. He’s a force, and he rarely gives up on plays.
Area basketball is going to be well off in the next couple years. With Franklin junior Peyton Siva, Smith, Wroten, Taylor, and Bellarmine’s top junior guards, Abdul Gaddy and Avery Bradley, that much was obvious Monday. Franklin and Garfield also have a number of other impressive underclassmen. The next few years are going to be fun, and days like Monday remind me how much I have to look forward to.